Hafta letters: Sex and gender, hacking, the Mahabharata, land ownership

NL subscibers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Regarding Sekhri's response to my letter, I had already qualified my response by saying that I am not asking you to go educate yourself. I was not even getting into whether I agree or disagree with you. The suggestion was that you do not forcefully shut down someone who knows more about the topic, say Ragamalika, whom you had repeatedly cut off and refused to listen to. You did not show any respect for her expertise and years of experience on the subject. 

And your guess is wrong, I am not a zoomer but a rather old millennial and I have my own set of frustrations with the Zoomers. But I am more open to listening to voices that have been silenced for a long time and perhaps it is too idealistic to expect Hafta/Newslaundry to be that kind of a space. You are the host, yes, but you must wonder if you are creating an inclusive platform and your behaviour towards Ragamalika suggests that you are failing to do so.

RS

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Just because someone identifies as non-binary that does not make a legitimate voice to speak for girls and women who are unconformable with people born with penises (PWP) in their locker rooms and washrooms or for women who are losing medals to PWPs or for kids, teenagers and parents who carry out genetic mutilation or puberty blockers only to regret later.

Also, it does not make them representative of many LGBT people – who have diverse views and do not like the indoctrination of children with "gender ideology". Harjant so callously dismissing these issues as only “minor side effects” is ironic, and not in a good way. Feeling aggrieved and turning pronouns into an existential issue does not make one's view more representative, valid, or morally superior.

I was disappointed but not surprised when you said that on LGBT issues you would give prominence to only two subscribers who themselves are non-binary, such a discussion is doomed from start for being loaded.

Uddalak

Email 2

Stating that there are only two sexes is not denying the existence of people with ambiguous gender identity; just like saying that there are only two faces to the coin does not deny the existence of the edge of the coin. Biologically there are only two gametes, a sperm and an egg there is no "third" type of gamete and in humans the anatomy of the body including brain has evolved around the need to produce these two gametes for sexual reproduction and thus it defines the sexes. The sexual anatomy like any other part of body is not perfect, therefore there will always be small percentage of people where anatomy would not be clearly male or female or even functional to successfully reproduce, but that does not mean they have third, fourth or fifth sex. They are the edge cases of biology and since humans are more than gametes and reproduction they form valuable important part of society but that should not mean we deny the existence of sex binary and invent new sexes in defiance of facts.

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I would like you to please start two10-minute video bulletins in the morning and evening at specified times which covers the main national stories of the day (no international stories unless critical) in moderate detail without editorialising. I know you have Daily Dose but that's too short and audio only. It would be great if the senior-most in your organisation can anchor it, but if that's not possible, at least have the bulletin. Else could you point me to a channel which has this? The closest I have seen is the Lallantop show, but thats a bit too long and has opinion. 

And Manisha, despite your and Jayashree's confidence about getting all wrong, you got three right. And I burst out laughing when you mentioned Siddique Kappan. It's Kaappan (काप्पन ) not cup pun. :)

Kumar

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In this day and age, it is rather arrogant of any government to say that they have an impregnable system which cannot be hacked, especially at a time when top organisations like Google, Facebook and even data of major powers like US etc are being regularly hacked. Hacking is not done by some local teenagers these days but by sophisticated programmers sometimes employed by rogue governments. I think a much broader discussion is required. Can Newslaundry interview someone like Nandan Nilekani or Mr Vembu of Zoho who can shed more light on this topic and how this menace can be tackled?

Anonymous

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The amount of hate Abhinandan has received for his views on transgender issue seems overly harsh. Here are my thoughts on the issue.

1) I agree with Abhinandan that biological sex shouldn't be discounted. Also if you’re too young to vote, you shouldn’t be allowed to make irreversible decisions like surgery. See here.  

2) We have specific laws to protect women. But if men can self-identify as women and should be legally treated as such, it only spells danger for women, especially in countries like India, where women's status in society is bad. 

3) Priorities seem misplaced when people are leaving India simply because they can’t be openly homosexual, yet issues like 'pronouns' are taking the spotlight. 

4) If we don’t accuse people who question us on the nuances as bigots, it will help our cause. As a feminist, I can't convince someone to believe in women's rights by calling them sexist just because they express doubts.

Saisruthi

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This is in continuance to a message I'd sent a few weeks earlier about that BeerBiceps guy. Maybe I didn't articulate it properly at the time but the key point was the fact that the reality of these influencers needed to be exposed a bit. It was funny to see Akshat (the finance guy) get caught up in this by Zubair, I don't think he's in the same category

Anonymous

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Hi NL team,

I don't agree with Abhinandan on Mahabharata being the most glorious text ever written because I strongly believe it is an epitome of suppression of human kind. For example, Ekalavya, Karna and innumerous Brahmin taunts and curses on the so called lower strata of the Varna system. Although it has a lot of social and just learnings. I believe it is a Manuvadi script to propagate that Brahmins are superior. I am an atheist so I wouldn't be surprised if your larger audience don't agree with me. Like Babasaheb said, "I'm born a Hindu but I will not die as a Hindu". I would be humbled if you would recommend your audience to watch the movie Karnan by director Mari Selvaraj which is based on true events.

I was born in Karnataka and my ancestry is from Andhra Pradesh. I believe South India is far more progressive in social justice than any other part of our country. Hope the rest too catches up soon.

Keep up with your good work.

Chetan

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Hello Hafta team, I'll try and keep this short.

Since you guys discussed about certain community members being lazy or rent collectors living a decent life without having to work. I think it warrants a conversation on ownership of land or lack of it, as that parameter where we clearly see social divisions. It is one of the reason why Ambedkar also insisted on land ownership rights for the SCs. Communalism today is also caused by the after affects of land distribution, especially in north India. Relative deprivation felt by upper/landed class is primarily because despite having wealth and opportunities, multiple generations of these classes have gone on living either on rent or agricultural income and haven’t invested in an education which gives them the standard of living they desire. Even when they have, the system has failed the youth by not generating enough jobs in manufacturing and services.

This feeling of deprivation is the reason behind their stand against reservations, demand for the said reservation (eg Jats and Meiteis), and in recent years, the making of enemies out of Muslims. As unemployment worsens, we’ll only see more of this "land jihad" nonsense.

Please feel free to edit this out to an appropriate length.

Tanmay

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Dear friends,

I have been a devoted admirer of your work since 2017, especially Hafta, Newsance and Tippani. I am curious to understand why your NL Sena contributions are limited to a range of Rs 1,000-50,000 spanning only six stages. In contrast, stageless options like Ketto (fundraiser), with amounts ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1,00,000, could potentially enhance funding more effectively.

Thank you and best regards,

Durbar Moulik

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